history

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Features, History, Technology, Williamsburg

Willis Carrier, Air conditioning, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, inventions, history

Shown in the Carrier plant in 1922, the first centrifugal chiller opened the door to large-scale comfort air conditioning. Image courtesy of United Technologies/Carrier.

It figures, but history shows us yet another way Brooklyn was cool, like, forever–though this particular example is a bit more literal. A classic New York City heat wave was just enough to turn up the Brooklyn ingenuity in a junior engineer named Willis Carrier, who devised a system of fans, ducts, heaters and perforated pipes that became the world’s first air conditioner. The problem: blistering temperatures that were literally melting the equipment in a Williamsburg printing house. The solution was one that had eluded centuries of inventors through sweltering summers. The system was installed in the summer of 1902, according to the New York Times, and Carrier went on to found Carrier Corporation. He had hit on the idea while walking in the fog.

It’s the humidity

Featured Story

Features, History, Hotels, Midtown West

Algonquin Hotel

In a town overrun with fancy hotels, the Algonquin–which turns 112 tomorrow–has true staying power, proving that history and heritage are every bit as important as plush bedding and sweet-smelling bath products.

Designed by Goldwin Starrett in a Renaissance limestone and red brick façade, the 12-story Algonquin Hotel, at 42 West 42nd Street, opened on November 22, 1902, initially operating as an apartment hotel with year-long leases but switching to a hotel after the owner failed to find enough renters. Today, the Algonquin–both a literary landmark and a New York City Historic Landmark–remains one of New York’s most cherished institutions, drawing a mix of artists, tourists and cultural elites.

Read the full history of the storied Algonquin

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